Your wedding ceremony sets the tone for the rest of your wedding day and creates memories for you, your family and friends for years ahead
Getting married is about making one of the most important legal, emotional, social, economic and practical commitments you will ever make in your life.
It is a day too, that will never be able to be repeated.
Therefore the wedding ceremony is the most important and precious part of the day, even if it is not the longest.
That's the reason, we traditionally go to a lot of trouble to make the occasion different to our daily life. We choose special clothes, family and friends, words, music, place to signify the importance of what we are doing. And we celebrate with special words, music, food and drink at the reception to support us in dealing with the magnitude of the change of role we have accepted.
We don't need to get married to be dressed up and have a special party.
We dress up and plan a special time because we are taking a big step in our lives!
The pressure to spend big needs to be balanced with the effect of that spending on your future. There are many ways to make your wedding day special without over-committing yourselves. See our section on 'Let the celebration be your gift'.
Under Australian law, the point at which you are married is when you will take each other as husband and wife, partners in marriage or spouses, in front of two adult witnesses and an authorised marriage celebrant.
This comes from our historic roots where a couple declaring before their community that they were going to live together as married, was THE process for marrying. Registering marriage for commoners is a more recent practice, historically speaking of course!
For more on Marriage Vows - see our article on Legal Requirements and how you can personalise them.
Having witnesses is also about reducing the risk of fraud and a protection in case anything should go wrong in ensuring the marriage is registered.
A ‘Marriage’ ceremony may do many things, including
- Reviewing your journey as individuals and as a couple
- Outlining your expectations, hopes and dreams for the future
- Providing an opportunity for parents and other married couples’ to share the challenges and benefits, and associated experiences of married life
- Give friends an opportunity to express their support
- Celebrating your love and commitment to one another with family and friends.
Ceremonies usually involve music, singing, story-telling, poetry, prose and could also involve dance, processions and the use of symbols. Such a ceremony could involve families, peer and community groups participating as much as possible.
For many parents, the marriage ceremony is a 'graduation' ceremony celebrating raising a child from babyhood to adulthood.
The marriage ceremony clearly hands the responsibility for the care of their adult son or daughter to another person, should they not be able to look after themselves, through illness or incapacity.
Providing an opportunity for a parents blessings and/or a formal 'thank you' to parents in your ceremony, rather than just at the reception, is a wonderful tribute to make, as your ceremony carries a special standing for your parents and guests.
The role of your marriage celebrant is to:
- make sure all conditions for eligibility for marriage are verified, the ceremony includes the legal wording required and that the marriage is registered
- your needs and wishes are catered for and that the marriage ceremony's form and content are psychologically and socially appropriate
- lead and guide the ceremony through its various stages
- conclude the ceremony, by affirming the participants and the value of this next stage of life’s journey
Wedding ceremonies are usually followed by some food and drink appropriate to the situation.
Depending on where such an event is held, such a meal could be a picnic, a BYO luncheon, afternoon tea in a community hall or an evening at a restaurant or function centre.